Literary Criticism

Literary Criticism A Concise Political History by Joseph North

So Far, So Left?: Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History by Joseph North

I think it would be a mistake to read Literary Criticism as simply another history of twentieth-century criticism. The tendentious and programmatic shaving down of local complexities allows North to sharpen his polemic into manifesto-like poignancy. One of the peculiarities of the manifesto is that it presumes the existence of something it is actually engaged in creating. This, I think, accounts for the odd yet telling choice to name a book after a practice that in its own account has been off the disciplinary map for at least the last few decades.

The Bughouse by Daniel Swift book cover

Old Master, Old Monster: The Bughouse by Daniel Swift

'The trouble is that The Bughouse is constantly outgrowing its own status as a work of interpretation without quite turning into the thing it might be – a biography which is also a work of intrinsic literary quality. What we tend to get is a kind of travelogue and personal journey into the environs of Pound’s incarceration.'

Michelle Cahill
Cigarette smuggling with a book
The Free Mind Essays and Poems in Honour of Barry Spurr

Campus Conservative

'Despite all the scandal, this book will be a great contribution to many different levels of thinking and fields of research. I would like to stress the significant contributions on the predicament of the humanities in the universities today. The ‘Barry Spurr incident’ showed how sensitive we still are about the humanities and how precarious and fragile still remains their civilising role in modern society.'

The Maximalist Novel by Stefano Ercolino

Maximalist Cosmos: An Interview with Stefano Ercolino

Large works that will strain the hands.

Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty and Truth by A. O. Scott

Expert Textpert: The Limits of Critique & Better Living Through Criticism

‘Anyone who has spent some time in a library hanging around in the vicinity of the low 800s will know that, for all their variety and intricacy, methodological arguments about the interpretation of literature invariably organise themselves around a small number of seemingly unavoidable conflicts, which are constantly being reinvented and given different weight by different schools of thought.’ James Ley on new books on criticism by Rita Felski, A.O. Scott. And Damon Young

The View From Nowhere: Forget English! & Born Translated

‘The idea of world literature, taken as a whole rather than divided into many national or linguistically based literatures, is a paradoxical one. How can we speak of a “literature” that encompasses far too many languages to master in a single lifetime? Does the term refer to the totality of all the literature in the world, or does it imply a project of canonisation—and if so, who gets to decide which works are included? For the purposes of the study of literature, what constitutes the “world”? The last question might seem the easiest to answer: the world is where we live, the ground beneath our feet. But it's a more slippery concept than that.’

J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing by David Attwell

Face to Face with the Archive: J. M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing

‘The work is a kind of biography, or at least enters into the space normally inhabited by the biography, yet it does so more or less exclusively through David Attwell’s reading of the J.M. Coetzee archive at the Harry Ransom Center. I say more or less exclusively because, while he pushes it down in the mix, so to speak, he is one of the best informed critics of Coetzee and has comprehensive knowledge of the critical literature that has built around him, and his book is also informed by this. It is further informed by his capacity as a literary critic, because, as well as developing a focus on Coetzee’s life, Attwell offers strong and original readings of the works themselves.’

Antinomies of Realism by Fredric Jameson cover

As Opposed to What? The Antinomies of Realism & Periodizing Jameson

With The Antinomies of Realism, Fredric Jameson finally provides the sustained examination of literary realism that those following his critical writings have long suspected might one day appear.

Invisible giants: Making Make-Believe Real by Garry Wills

Garry Wills is a great American political essayist and historian whose imagination has always been set on fire by the power of the word in the time of Elizabeth I. In his new book, he writes about it at length. And it is an extraordinary thing to try to imagine the Elizabethan moment and do justice to the majesty of its artistic achievements ...

The age of poets by Alain Badiou

Eternity is coming: The Age of the Poets by Alain Badiou

Despite the title, The Age of the Poets is not a dedicated treatise on poetry or its history, but a collection of occasional essays on various aspects of the literary process from Badiou’s philosophical point of view.